Quantic AKA Will Holland is a seasoned professional when it comes to bringing sunshine to the dancefloor with his South American-infused sounds. This June, we saw the release of Atlantic Oscillations, his first solo album since 2014’s Magnetica.
Since its release, the album has received warm praise, including prime time airplay on BBC 6 Music. With the support from his label Tru Thoughts, Quantic’s latest album captures your attention, with its blend of disco, house, jazz and soul Quantic’s signature Colombian-inspired flare.
blend of disco, house, jazz and soul Quantic’s signature Colombian-inspired flare.
This November, Quantic commences his UK Atlantic Oscillations album tour with his five-piece band, which includes Sly5thAve and New York singer, Denitia. Nitelife caught up with Will ahead of his Bristol leg of the tour at Marble Factory on 29 November, to talk about what we can look forward to in his live show, his new album and how his musical writing process has changed since living in New York.
Last time Quantic and his band performed in Bristol it was a ‘best of’ Quantic show. This time, we’ll get to see a rounder picture of Quantic as the musician he is today, as he showcases his new album Atlantic Oscillations – though with a promise of some old favourites thrown in too.
‘Rather than taking a photographic approach to performing this album live, we’ve added a lot of improvisation’ explains the multi-instrumentalist. ‘Having people like saxophonist Sly in the band, there’s an opportunity to really stretch out some of the songs and make them more like a live jam, so to speak.
there’s an opportunity to really stretch out some of the songs and make them more like a live jam
‘I’m really looking forward to bringing a lot of tracks from the album to the stage, in particular, Do You Still Love Me, featuring Denitia on vocals. It’s cool to do things live because you get to present it in a different form and play with the atmosphere and the building of tension.
‘Last time I performed in Bristol my guitar broke on stage and I had to do some quick DIY with a mini screwdriver backstage. This time, I want to reassure everyone I have two guitars on stand by just in case!’
I have two guitars on stand by just in case!
As Bristol gears up for what will undoubtedly be another memorable performance from Quantic and his band, Will Holland reflects on the upcoming event and why he always loves performing in front of a Bristol crowd.’
‘When you get on stage, it’s nice to know when the crowd have your back. That’s why we get excited to play in Bristol, because we always know there’s going to be a great party feel. Another good thing about Bristol is people there just tend to get down and maintain good energy on the dancefloor. That’s the equilibrium we are looking for and Bristol does that very well.’
As our conversation steers toward his new solo release, Will opens up about the inspiration behind his eclectic new album, Atlantic Oscillations.
‘I think my biggest inspiration for this album was being on the road whilst making music for so many years. I’ve always made records that are quite production based. I’m a DJ too, so I wanted to create something I knew would work on the dancefloor. It has never really been about reflecting a stage show per-say, until now.
I wanted to take a different approach when I was creating Atlantic Oscillations
‘I wanted to take a different approach when I was creating Atlantic Oscillations. I wanted it to be so that everybody was sitting at the same table and eating from the same plate. It helps artistically having music that’s a bit more cohesive.’
Quantic has a couple of long-time collaborators like Nidia Góngora, Sly5thave and Alice Russell who has been part of his journey since the very beginning. With that in mind, the producer was keen to feature these artists on his new album.
‘I’ve worked with all of these artists on many occasions separately, so it was nice to marry this all together in this album. That’s the cool thing about putting everyone on the same record, we can all share the same musical space, even if we’re not physically all together.’
Since the release of his last solo album Magnetica in 2014, Quantic packed up his travelling lifestyle and moved to New York, Brooklyn, where he found himself a 9-5 studio, giving the musician more artistic freedom to explore his creative projects – a change of pace and lifestyle that influenced his writing process, he says.
a change of pace and lifestyle that influenced his writing process
‘Before I moved to New York, I always camped out in places, especially when I was living in Colombia. I was always travelling just to make music. I never had a central place where I could process things and have space to mull things over.
‘Whenever I used to visit New York, I always found that I never achieved as much as I intended to, because I was always distracted by seeing friends and social events. It’s different when you live here though, because you start to actually become part of the community, which allows you to focus more.’
As our conversation continues, we decide to take a step back and reflect on Will’s personal favourites from his large back catalogue of releases under various guises, including Quantic, Flowering Inferno, Quantic Soul Orchestra and Limp Twins, to name a few.
‘I’m very fond of the 2012 Ondatrópica collaboration with Colombian musician, Mario Geleano. We had quite a big budget for that project, so we went the extra mile with the way we recorded it and the musicians we invited.
we went the extra mile with the way we recorded it and the musicians we invited
‘Sometimes it’s pretty weird listening to your own work, because you were so invested in it for so long and then you move on to the next project. Sometimes you cringe at how outdated some things sound, but that’s ok. I’ve never used auto-tune – so that’s something, I suppose!’
With 18 studio albums in 18 years, since his a 2001 debut The 5th Exotic, it’s fair to say that Will Holland is one of the industry’s hardest-working and most prolific artists. So it’s no surprise to learn that he’s got plenty up his sleeve in the near future.
‘We’re launching a record label promoting music made at my Brookyln-based Selva Studios, with affiliated artists. That’ll be happening more towards the end of this year, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.
‘We’ve also got a couple of really cool remixes from the Atlantic Oscillations album, set to be available for the UK tour.
‘Aside from that, I’ve been producing and working on new things – working on new music, new albums and keeping busy.’
Photos by B+